October 13, 2014
Kiwifruit suit politically unwise
Maori kiwifruit growers are being warned off taking part in a class action over PSA.
A group of western Bay of Plenty growers with backing from litigation funder LPF Group is signing up growers for the case, which alleges that negligence by Biosecurity New Zealand let the vine disease into the country.
The disease is estimated to have cost the country more than $885 million since 2010.
Te Awanui Hukapak chief executive Neil Te Kani chairs the Maori Growers Forum, whose members account for about 10 percent of kiwifruit grown.
He says the forum has offered them advice on the pitfalls of joining the action, and it doesn’t make sense to go to war with the government.
"Now the government came to the party in terms of the PSA outbreak with $25 million taxpayer dollars. Industry put in $25 million. The outcome of this is that this class action has the abilty to poke the government in the eye with a thank you note," Mr Te Kani says.
He says Maori growers have been sharing information about ways to keep their vineyards healthy and better able to resist the disease, and many growers are also switching to a new Zespri cultivar to replace the Hort 16A gold kiwifruit.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH NEIL TE KANI CLICK ON THE LINK
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